[Sponsored Report] Meeting puts focus on franchises
The four-day meeting - spearheaded by the Korea Franchise Association (KFA) - is being held through Saturday at both the JW Marriot hotel and the Seoul Trade Exhibition Center (Setec). The event will draw participants from 38 of the 41 countries that are members of the World Franchise Council, or WFC. In total, 100,000 visitors are expended to attend, including 500 chief executive officers of local and overseas companies involved in franchising, a KFA executive said.
The World Franchise Meeting will be held this year under the motto “For the World, For the Future.” It will consist of APFC and WFC general meetings, an international franchise conference and an international exhibition.
The APFC general meeting will take place on Wednesday, while the WFC gathering, the franchise conference, the Korea Franchise Award ceremony and a special nighttime event to celebrate the industry will be held over the next two days.
The Seoul International Franchise Exhibition at Setec runs Thursday through Saturday and is open to the public.
At the exhibition, visitors can check out the latest and greatest in the franchise industry and receive guidance and advice for opening a new franchise.
Participants in the APFC and WFC general meetings including Kim Yong-man, the co-chairman of the meetings; Luiz Amaral, chairman of the WFC; APFC Chairman Estelle Logan; and representatives of the two organizations in the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, China, India, Malaysia, Ecuador, Brazil, Canada and the Philippines
The International Franchise Conference will feature a keynote speech by Gary Heavin, who is CEO of Curves, the sole global female-only fitness club franchise. Heavin will talk about his company’s success in the industry and its franchising strategy.
Curves has developed a strong niche in the fitness industry since it launched back in 1992 in Harlingen, Texas. It now has roughly 10,800 locations in 84 countries and boasts 4.3 million members around the world. The company has even made its way into the Guinness World Records for opening a new chain every four hours. It has racked up a number of accolades and accomplishments over the years, ranking third in the top 500 franchises by the U.S.-based magazine “Entrepreneur.” It also has ranked No. 1 in the publication’s listing for low-cost franchises and as the fastest-growing franchise.
Aside from the usual agenda items, this year’s World Franchise Council will focus on examining the status of Korea’s franchise industry and the importance of promoting the franchise industry to government officials and related organizations as well as on ensuring a broader understanding of the business. Organizers also want to explore how to increase cooperation and information exchange between countries. The KFA has laid out a series of goals for the World Franchise Meeting. They include bringing franchise leaders from around the world together, gathering up-to-date information and data about trends in the franchise industry, preparing a framework to grow globally and preparing for the future.
Korea’s status in the franchising world is growing by leaps and bounds, highlighted by the decision to host the 2010 World Franchise Meeting in Seoul. It’s the fastest any member of both the APFC and the WFC has hosted the gathering since joining the two organizations.
“The World Franchise Meeting is an international festival that draws leaders from the global franchise industry,” a Korea Franchise Association executive remarked. “This is a good chance to raise Korea’s brand value and promote the superiority of Korea’s franchise brands and Korean food.”
The official also said that even though Korea’s franchise industry has progressed rapidly over the past 30 years, it only has a few “long-lasting brands.”
“Although development in size is certainly important, we will now concentrate on generating a positive image of the industry, raising brand value and boosting social contribution efforts,” the official said.
This year’s meeting is organized by the KFA, hosted by the WFC organizing committee and sponsored by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Small & Medium Business Administration, the Fair Trade Commission and Kotra.
The Korea Franchise Association was founded in 1998 to promote the development of the franchise industry and increase information exchange between its members. The organization has worked to encourage individual economic activities and create a rock-solid franchise industry culture as well as raise the economic status of its members. It also works to increase communication between local and overseas organizations. The association currently has 400 members, including Kim Ga Nae, Lotteria, Paris Croissant, Nonghyup Mokuchon, Nolbu and Mister Pizza.